Monday, August 29, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 29, 2016 (Updated)

* Mexico: Juan Gabriel, the iconic Mexican singer and songwriter known for such hits as “Siempre en mi Mente” and “Querida”, died on Sunday at the age of sixty-six.

* Colombia: FARC commanders issued a definitive ceasefire to begin on Monday and days after the rebels and the Colombian government reached a historic peace deal that awaits approval via a plebiscite this October.

* Argentina: An Argentine court convicted thirty-eight ex-military officers last week for their role in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of several hundred victims during the oppressive “Dirty War” era.

* Venezuela: A U.S. Department of State spokesman condemned moving opposition figure Daniel Ceballos from house arrest to prison in an action he deemed as trying to “intimidate and impede the Venezuelan people's right to peacefully express their opinion” ahead of a September 1st rally.

Update: The Venezuelan government replied to the criticism by accusing the U.S. of promoting "instbaility" and plotting a coup during the September 1st anti-government march.

YouTube Source – JuanGabrielVEVO

Online Sources including Update – Fusion, ABC Online, The New York Times, Reuters,

Friday, August 26, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 26, 2016

* Bolivia: Protesting Bolivian President Evo Morales accused protesting miners of being part of a "political conspiracy rather than a legitimate social claim" following the beating and death of Deputy Interior Minster Rodolfo Illanes.

* United States: A poll showed 61% of respondents including majorities across racial lines condemned presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal for a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.

* Venezuela: The main opposition coalition called for rallies on September 1st in Caracas to support a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro that might be scheduled for next year.

* Uruguay: Has the plan to legally sell marijuana in Uruguay failed before it began or are concerns over limits on production and pricing overblown?

YouTube Source – No Comment TV (From August 13, 2016: “Miners' protest over ‘neoliberal’ agenda of Bolivian President Evo Morales ends in clashes with several people injured and hostages taken”).

Online Sources – Reuters, Latin American Herald Tribune, Bloomberg, NBC News

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 25, 2016

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa of Ecuador and visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed methods both countries can attempt to boost lagging oil prices.

* Venezuela: Organization of American States chief Luis Almagro claimed Venezuelans are a "victim of bullying" from the government the same week President Nicolas Maduro threatened with firing public workers who signed a petition backing a recall referendum.

* Peru: Peruvian investigators officially launched a probe against eighteen police officers accused of participating in the extrajudicial killings of at least twenty people since 2012.

* United States: A group of mothers originally from Latin America and detained in an immigration center ended their two-week long hunger strike purportedly due to “threats from immigration officials.”

YouTube Source – Ruptly TV

Online Sources – Yahoo News, BBC News, UPI, The Guardian

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Colombia, FARC Reach Historic Peace Deal

One of the bloodiest and most violent chapters in Colombia’s decades-long armed conflict could soon come to a close after the government and the FARC rebels reached a historic final peace agreement on Wednesday.

“Today we have reached the finish line,” declared lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle who also claimed the agreement will “open doors” to a more open and inclusive Colombian society.

“We can proclaim that the war of arms is over and the debate of ideas begins,” proclaimed alias “Ivan Marquez,” top FARC envoy.

The agreement was announced in the Cuban capital city of Havana following nearly four years of often-tense negotiations between government envoys and representatives of Colombia’s largest and oldest guerilla faction. Thus far, both sides have agreed on subjects including land reform, justice for the victims of conflict, and disarmament.

According to RCN Radio of Colombia, the final details of the deal bar the FARC from any form of amnesty unless they lay down their arms and a strategy to reincorporate guerillas into civil society. Another point purportedly grants the FARC judicial guarantees while the deal goes to a plebiscite and subsequently for congressional review. Speaking of the federal legislature, the deal allegedly allow for the rebels to have up to seven Congressional seats as part of their potential political participation.

“There will be no impunity!” thundered Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos regarding doubts over justice against the rebels and following the historic announcement in Cuba.

Daily Headlines: August 24, 2016

* Chile: “(Latin America) doesn’t take the issue seriously or dedicate the resources it deserves,” claimed a Chilean AIDS rights activist after the government issued a health alert over 1.2 million faulty Chinese-made condoms distributed via a public health program.

* Latin America: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is expected to visit six Latin American states this week and sign numerous agreements with countries like Cuba and Bolivia.

* Argentina: Declassified British intelligence documents apparently showed Israel sold weapons to Argentina during the Falklands War in 1982.

* Central America: The presidents of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala pledged to launch a new joint force aimed at curbing drug traffickers and criminal gangs.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 22, 2016

* Cuba: How are Cubans trying to work around the financial and technological barriers that make it very difficult to access the Internet?

* Chile: Hundreds of thousands of Chileans marched nationwide to call for reforming the private pension system in place since the regime of then-strongman Augusto Pinochet.

* United States: A recent study concluded that Latinos age at a slower rate than other ethnic groups despite having higher cases of chronic diseases as obesity and diabetes.

* Mexico: Bad news for the Mexican economy, which suffered its first quarterly loss in approximately three years.

YouTube Source – Wall Street Journal (From August 2015: “The streets of Cuba are famous for their classic American cars and weathered buildings. Now, they are also increasingly popular with Cubans using the Internet.”)

Online Sources – Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, Quartz, The Guardian

Friday, August 19, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 19, 2016

* Bolivia: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization believes Bolivia is safe from food shortages despite going through one of its worst droughts in decades.

* Colombia: Polls show most Colombians would back voting in a plebiscite for a planed peace deal with the FARC though support varies from a little more than half to as high as 67%.

* Mexico: Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission accused the police of killing twenty-two people in extrajudicial executions last May and trying to cover up the murders.

* Honduras: Approximately one-third of the senior police officers in Honduras have been fired as part of a push to eliminate corruption within law enforcement.

YouTube Source – CCTV News (From March 2016: “Lake Poopo was Bolivia’s second largest. It started to dry up in late 2014, and by December last year it evaporated. Scientists said a drought linked to El Nino, as well as the diversion of rivers for mining and farming, have all played a part in Lake Poopo’s latest disappearance.”)

Online Sources – Deutsche Welle, Xinhua, BBC News, Colombia Reports

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 18, 2016

* Haiti: The United Nations admitted to have “played a role” in a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 10,000 people in Haiti but stopped short of admitting peacekeepers caused the epidemic.

* El Salvador: The Salvadoran Supreme Court unanimously ruled to send former Colonel Guillermo Benavides to prison over civil war crimes and refused an extradition request from Spain relating to the 1989 massacre of a group of Jesuit priests.

* Venezuela: “Venezuela will represent a growing supply risk for oil markets in 2017,” concluded a recent report from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

* Paraguay: Several hundred protesters participated in an anti-government march on the second anniversary of the inauguration of President Horacio Cartes.

YouTube Source – AFP (From January 2015: “Five years since the 2010 earthquake, the cholera epidemic in Haiti is still claiming lives, and there are recriminations over who was responsible for bringing it to the country.”)

Online Sources – Fox News Latino, Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Times

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 17, 2016

* Bolivia: Landlocked Bolivia took a big step towards being the world’s largest exporter of lithium following its first shipment of the metal to China.

* Brazil: Suspended President Dilma Rousseff proposed early elections though that may not be enough to prevent her from possibly being removed from office by the Brazilian Senate later this month.

* Puerto Rico: At least 500 passengers were evacuated from a ferry that caught fire off the Puerto Rican coast this morning.

* Nicaragua: Opposition parties have called for a boycott of Nicaragua’s upcoming presidential elections that critics claim are rigged to create a “dynastic dictatorship” for current leader Daniel Ortega.

* Mexico: Is the kidnapping of six people including the son of imprisoned capo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman a sign of increased violence between Mexican drug gangs?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 15, 2016

* Argentina: Human rights group the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo held their 2000th weekly march in Buenos Aires days after the United States (US) declassified hundreds of documents related to actions during the “Dirty War” era.

* Cuba: Former Cuban president Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance to celebrate his 90th birthday and also penned a letter thanking his compatriots “for the signs of respect, greetings, and gifts” he has recently received.

* Puerto Rico: The US government declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico due to the spread of the Zika virus that has infected at least 10,000 people there.

* Guatemala: A Canadian legal aid group has called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to probe a local mining firm accused of allegedly using legal chicanery to prevent a referendum over a Guatemalan mine.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources – BBC News, The Bubble, Vice News, The Toronto Star, The Atlantic

Friday, August 12, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 12, 2016

* South America: The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela agreed to a gradual and partial reopening of their shared border one year after Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro ordered the shutdown of several crossings.

* United States: A new poll of Latino voters found two-thirds of respondents prefer Hillary Clinton as the next president while 82% view Republican rival Donald Trump unfavorably.

* Haiti: A nationwide doctor’s strike that has entered its fourth month has exacerbated a public health crisis that has included a cholera epidemic and the spread of the Zika virus.

* Brazil: Brazilian energy giant Petrobras recorded its first quarterly profit in nearly a year though it was nearly one-third less than earnings in the second trimester of 2015.

YouTube Source – BBC News (From July 2016: “Colombian officials say 35,000 Venezuelans have crossed the border into their country over 12 hours to shop for basic supplies. Venezuela is suffering a severe economic crisis which has caused mass food shortages.”)

Online Sources – Bloomberg, Reuters, Fox News Latino, Humanosphere

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 11, 2016

* Guatemala: United States (US) immigration authorities deported Santos Lopez Alonzo, a former Guatemalan solider believed to have participated in the Dos Erres massacre of at least 160 villagers in 1982. 

* Argentina: Argentinian Foreign minister Susana Malcorra admitted that her government and British diplomats plan to hold talks over oil exploration off the shore of the disputed Falkland Islands.

* Peru: A 687-mile pipeline in the Peruvian Amazon leaked for the fourth time this year and has spilled an unpublished quantity of crude oil.

* Ecuador: Ecuador will allow Swedish investigators to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been exiled at the South American country’s embassy in London since 2012.

YouTube Source – AP Archive (“In Guatemala 162 bodies discovered in a mass grave were buried Sunday in the northern region of Peten. Among the bodies, are those of 91 women and children massacred in 1982 during the dictatorship of general Efrain Rios Montt.”)

Online Sources – UPI, Reuters, MercoPress, CBS News

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 10, 2016

* Brazil: Amid the fervor of the Rio Games, Brazil’s Senate voted in favor of holding an impeachment trial against suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

* Puerto Rico: Tourism in Puerto Rico has weakened over the past few months reportedly as a result of the Zika virus outbreak that has affected most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet in a televised address proposed reforming the private pension system created under the rule of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

* Venezuela: Opposition politicos are none too pleased with the Venezuelan electoral commission’s decision to likely hold a possible recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro in 2017 instead of later this year.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources – euronews, Travel Weekly, Deutsche Welle, Yahoo News

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 9, 2016

* Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega and First Lady Rosario Murillo are the odds-on favorites of winning in November’s elections according to a survey of 2000 likely voters.

* Ecuador: A United States court upheld a lower tribunal ruling barring the payment of an $8.6 billion environmental damages fine against Chevron to plaintiffs in Ecuador.

* Peru: Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said prosecutors are looking into allegations of police officers running “death squads” from 2011 to 2015.

* United States: A poll of Millennials found that 89% of Latino respondents are concerned over “terrorism committed by U.S. residents inspired by group like ISIS,” while 55% are “very concerned about terrorism committed by White American citizens.”

YouTube Source – CCTV News (Earlier this month “Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega picked his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his running mate for November's election”.)

Online Sources – Yahoo News, The Washington Post, NBC News, Reuters

Monday, August 8, 2016

World Watch: Protest vs. Repression

* Ethiopia: According to Amnesty International at least ninety-seven people have died and hundreds were injured over the weekend after security agents fired against anti-government protesters in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

* Turkey: Turkish authorities detained at least ten foreign nationals as part of a crackdown after a failed July 15th coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

* Japan: Regulators in Japan raided the offices of online retail giant Amazon as part of an antitrust investigation.

* World: Oil futures closed at their highest point in two weeks as a result of speculation over an “informal” meeting next month of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member states.

YouTube Source – France 24 English

Online Sources – UPI, CNBC, USA TODAY, The Independent

Daily Headlines: August 8, 2016

* Mexico: At least forty people died following several landslides in Puebla and Veracruz states following Tropical Storm Earl though heavy rain is expected to continue and potentially cause “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.”

* Cuba: Cuban officials blamed the United States for a surge of nationals fleeing from the country including several hundred migrants awaiting deportation from Colombia.

* Ecuador: Maria Duarte, Ecuador's Minister of Urban Development and Housing, claimed to be “optimistic” over the rebuilding of homes destroyed in a major earthquake nearly four months ago.

* Brazil: Several upsets in tennis at the Olympics on Sunday including Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina beating Novak Djokovic, and the Colombian pair of Juan-Sebasti├ín Cabal and Robert Farah surprising the top seed in men’s doubles.

* Bolivia: Bolivian authorities last week seized nearly eight tons of cocaine valued at around $350 million from a cargo truck.

YouTube Source – Associated Press 

Online Sources – Reuters, CNN, Business Insider, Houston Chronicle, Al Jazeera English, The Tico Times